The Simple Things April 2021

The Simple Things is a beautiful, useful, quirky and fun magazine about taking time to live well. We cover mindfulness and microadventures, eating and growing, forgotten wisdom, home life and slow moments. It's for people who love their lives but want to take the pressure off and remember what’s really important. We like tea & cake, learning stuff, being outside and the satisfaction of a job well done. Do you?

United Kingdom
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Flinging open the windows on a bright spring morning sends a message to the world; ‘Come on, I’m ready for you.’ April is a month to blow away the cobwebs, step outside your door, your neighbourhood (or your comfort zone) and take a fresh look at life. With a fair wind, we should be able to do all of these things again this spring. Baking buns, cakes or tarts to greet the most welcome of visitors will be top of the list for many, a day at the sea is sure to appeal to most of us and enjoying the traditions of Easter (albeit largely outdoors) will bring some much-needed normality to family life. And in the meantime, there’s always chocolate……

bright and breezy

Strolling on the beach, breathing in lungfuls of salty air and staring out at the vast sea before you isn’t just for summer days. The water may still be icy and the winds fresh, but heading to the beach out of season means fewer people, more space to explore and somewhere calm to breathe deep. Check the local rules and the weather forecast, then pack plenty of blankets and head out on a day trip to the coast. Make the most of the still-empty sands to search for treasures, from sea glass to washed-up finds hiding in rock pools, then jump through the dunes and have a tentative paddle. Once you've worked up an appetite, get a campfire going and cook fresh fish wrapped in foil, baked chocolate-filled oranges and toasted…

april almanac

Tea for the month Flowering tea will impress any guests to your garden. If you’ve never had the pleasure, it does exactly what it says on the tin: tea leaves (usually white tip tea) and flowers are bound together into a bulb and dried. When steeped in hot water, the bulbs burst open and the flowers ‘grow’. We like the Flowering Blossom Tea in a tin by Tsimsy Suzy at Not On The High Street. LOCAL LORE The Kate Kennedy procession in St Andrews, on the second Saturday of the month, honours the beautiful 15th-century niece of the local bishop. It’s now become a student tradition with ‘the most promising first year’ parading as Kate, all cheered on by locals. Nature spot Plants you might see Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non scripta) Sweet violets (Viola odorata) Dog’s Mercury (Mercurialis perennis) IN SEASON…


Treat your ears A podcast and a piece of music to celebrate the month Listen to the dawn chorus (even if you’re a night owl) The Casual Birder is a podcast for anyone who’s interested in wild birds and is a lovely, relaxing listen. If you haven’t quite managed to get up to hear the real thing yet, this might be the thing to inspire you to do so. And if you can’t quite manage such an early start, you can listen here at any time of the day: • Nick Drake, Bryter Layter Like all the best albums that put a spring in your step, you can’t quite put your finger on why Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter sounds like spring. Perhaps it’s the breathy vocals, the upbeat jazzy horns of Hazey…

cake in the house

EARL GREY BUNDT CAKE Serves 8 FOR THE EARL GREY-INFUSED BUTTER: 280g unsalted butter30g loose leaf Earl Grey tea FOR THE CAKE: 4 large eggs (room temperature)2 tsp vanilla extract240g sour cream (room temperature)298g plain flour2 tbsp cornflour2 tsp baking powder¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda1¼ tsp salt350g granulated sugar175g Earl Grey–infused butter (room temperature)55g unflavoured vegetable oil FOR THE EARL GREY SYRUP: 65g granulated sugar80g water2 tsp loose-leaf Earl Grey tea FOR THE LEMON GLAZE: 120g icing sugarPinch of salt1 tsp unsalted butter, melted1 tbsp milk1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed 1 Begin by making the Earl Grey butter. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and add the tea leaves. Keep over a low heat for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 15-30 mins. 2 Once…

my day in cups of tea

Morning! Where do you enjoy your first cuppa? I wake early and have my first mug of tea in the kitchen while the family sleeps – it's what gets me out of bed! You’ve made that big step. What’s next? I start mixing my dough – I run my microbakery from home and enjoy the silence before the family wakes. I'll have another cup, and a sit down after the school run, while the dough is rising. How did you start your bakery? After having kids, I couldn’t get excited about going back to my old job. I was baking a lot and my six year old asked, “Why don’t we open a bakery?” I began baking for free, then in 2018, I started to sell my bread. Using your loaf! Your favourite part? My family know…